Column #CM83 Charis interviews Canada’s Matt Campbell
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Charis interviews Canada’s Matt Campbell
You know what they say about mice, men and their best-laid plans – they often go awry. Such (obviously) was the case with the following interview, which was intended to be shared before the start of the world championships. Campbell fell 3-1 in the first round to England’s Mark McGeeney – although were it not for a couple of untimely missed doubles the result could have been different.
Matt, you reached four of the CDC finals and won two of those and as the highest ranked Canadian player qualified for the PDC World Championship. What were your thoughts when you realised it?
Going into the last CDC event I knew I was ahead and what I had to do to make it a for sure thing that I would be the top ranked Canadian player. In the first event I put a lot of pressure on myself to accomplish that and it didn’t work out the best. losing in my first round. The next day I just tried to forget about the points and what was on the line and just play and was fortunate enough to do so and come away with the spot.
And how do you feel now such a short time before the event – unsure, tense or just looking forward to it?
I feel great about the tournament and am not nervous or anything yet. I am just looking forward to being on the stage and in front of the crowd.
For how long have you been competing on the CDC Tour?
I’ve played the CDC tour for almost 2 years now. I did have to start off as a qualifier, then my performances got me the chance to have a tour card for the CDC.
How popular is the CDC circuit in Canada?
In Canada the CDC tour’s popularity is growing rapidly. A lot more Canadians came out this past year and with more events in Canada now I think they will see a lot more of Canada’s talent.
What about the standard on the CDC circuit? Do you feel you improved by playing on the CDC circuit?
The CDC is a very tough room to play in. There are a lot of talented players, so I do believe playing in it has made my game improve and it makes me want to improve even more.
How much experience playing on stage do you have, and do you look forward to playing on the stage of the Alexandra Palace?
I don’t really have any stage experience. I have played on the live stream for the CDC – I guess that is stage play but nothing can compare to world championship stage.
You know Jim Long – did he have advice for your world championship appearance?
Yeah, Jim Long is a good friend. We practice together and he has given me advice and some insight on what to expect. It’s great to have someone like him to be able to talk to and clear some concerns if there were any.
Do you follow PDC tournaments on TV or stream?
I do watch some PDC tournaments through their website. I don’t get to watch them all, but I do enjoy watching the darts the players on the tour produce.
Do you know some of the PDC players and have you played against some of them?
I have played John Part a couple times, but I have not played any of the PDC stars of now.
You will play against Mark McGeeney in your first match, who is a former BDO number 1. Do you know anything about him?
I know Mark is the former BDO number 1. I know he has had a good year with the PDC and that he’s a good scorer and good finisher, so it will be a good first round match which ever way it goes.
Does it matter to you if you know the player against whom you play?
I don’t think it matters if I know who I am playing or not. I can just keep my mind set clear on what I am doing. Then I will be happy with the way I play no matter who it is.
How do you assess your chances? And what do you hope to achieve?
I believe my chances are good, just like everyone else’s. It will just come down to who is the better player that day.
Do you prepare in some special way for the world championship?
No, haven’t prepared specifically for the world championships. I’ve just prepared like I have done for every other tournament.
For how long have you played darts and how did you begin with the sport?
I have been playing darts for about 12 years now. I was introduced to the game by one of my close friend’s parents – they taught me my finishes and may math. They taught me the game.
Like Jim Long and John Part you come from Ontario – is Ontario a hotbed of darts? How widespread is the sport in Ontario? And how does the dart scene look where you live?
There are a lot of great players in Ontario just like the rest of Canada. I believe the sport is big in Ontario – a lot of players and a lot of tournaments make for good players all around the province.
Do you play in a league?
I don’t really get time to play in the league because I work a night shift.
You also qualified this year for the World Masters – does this mean you play ADO or NDFC tournaments as well?
Yes, I play whatever tournaments I can get to so whether they are ADO or NDFC I will go to them.
Was it the first time you qualified for the World Masters? And did stop by Alexandra Palace to take a look when you were in London?
It was my first time at the World Masters and no, I didn’t go and check out the Alexandra Palace. I figured I’d be closer – right there – for the world championship.
One could read in social media that the start to the World Masters was rather chaotic – did you feel the same?
I believe it was very chaotic with the re-draws and contract signing and not knowing what the prize pool was – yes, it was very chaotic.
Was that your first time in London or have you been there before?
This will be my first time in London for the world championships.
With your qualification for both the World Masters and the world championship you had a very successful darting year – was there any special reason for that?
Yeah, there is always a special reason for success – putting the time and effort travelling to the tournaments that can get you to these types of places and going to the qualifiers. My wife, Emma, has been amazing with planning the trips and even coming (even though it may be boring to just watch). Without her support wouldn’t be where I am.
What do you think was you biggest achievement in darts so far?
My biggest achievement would be qualifying for the PDC would championships. Other than that, it has been winning two CDC events in a tough field – I believe that is a big achievement.
Do you practice a lot?
I practice enough to not tire myself out and to keep me interested in a practice routine – rather than to wear myself down and get bored with the practice routine.
How does your practice look? Do you have some kind of practice plan?
I practice my doubles and triples and then finishes with games like 121 and around the board and then finish up with some games of 501 and cricket.
Do you practice alone or with a practice partner?
I practice alone and meet up with some players to get practice games going.
Do you prepare in some special way for the world championship? More often than usual? Does your practice routine include mental preparation as well?
I just do the same preparation that has gotten me to where I am today. I try to practice in the same mindset as I would be playing any match. That way the mental part gets worked on just like the mechanics do.
Will somebody accompany you to London to support you? And is this sort of support important for you?
My wife will be attending and there are two other North American players – Danny Baggish and Darin Young. I believe they will be there to support me just like I will be for them. And a lot of people back home from the United States and Canada are sending me messages of support.
As I know almost nothing at all about you – how would you describe yourself?
I don’t know how I would describe myself. I am just a down to earth “whatever happens, happens” type of person.
What is your occupation?
I am a welder.
What do you think is your weakness and what is your strength?
My weakness I believe is being too hard on myself and my strength is that I am able to just shut my brain off and tune out everything – and just throw.
Have you thought of taking part in Qualifying School and maybe becoming a professional darts player in the PDC?
I would love to give Q-School a shot and see if I am able to earn a tour card and then see how it goes. But the first thing is to see how I do at the world championships and go from there.
What fascinates you most in darts?
I like the competitiveness in the sport when you get to the line and then when you walk away everything is just back to normal joking around, being friendly with everyone – until you get to the line again. Then they’re your worst enemy. Also, I like that darts can be played until any age so it’s a lifetime game that I can enjoy. You meet a ton of amazing people and get to experience a bunch of different places as well.
Are you interested in other sports? Do you have you got other interests and hobbies outside of darts?
I don’t really have any other hobbies – just work, family, kids and darts.
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